The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has backed a track relocation for Benalla as part of the Inland Rail Project.
The news will be welcomed by many in the community after local lobby groups spent more than two years opposing plans for a new overpass.
The planned modification of the Benalla station precinct are in line with the necessary safety and technical requirements.
ARTC Victoria and South Australia projects general manager Ed Walker said following consultation with the community, it found there was clear support from Benalla residents for modifications, which included realigning a portion of track at the station.
“We heard that the community wanted the chance to provide feedback on the modification of the station at Benalla,” Mr Walker said.
“ARTC listened to the community and produced draft visual designs for this option to help the community understand what this solution may look like for the station precinct in Benalla.
“The response we received was overwhelmingly in favour of the option that involves realigning a portion of current west track to the other side of the station.
“ARTC will recommend this option to the Victorian Government, as the owner of the asset, as part of the project’s future planning approvals.
“Broader consultation to refine specific details will now occur, especially around the two different variations of the track realignment option — a pedestrian underpass or a pedestrian overpass.
“We will continue to engage further with the community on refining the design elements, but ARTC can confirm the upgrade will prioritise safety and functionality through the delivery of a new platform and improved pedestrian access at Benalla Station.
“ARTC has considered options that are feasible and met all necessary requirements — this includes a second platform as part of any realignment to support anticipated growth in the town and ensure operational requirements are met.”
Mr Walker said ARTC remained steadfastly committed to open and transparent consultation and active engagement to understand the community’s views relating to the projects it is responsible for delivering.
“ARTC will continue to work with Rural City of Benalla Council, the Victorian Government, and the community as we seek to develop Benalla Station to cater for double-stacked freight trains as part of Inland Rail.
“We have continued to follow our processes, and we have reached a stage that we hope the community can get behind our plans in Benalla and the benefits Inland Rail will bring nationwide.
“Not only does Inland Rail deliver a freight solution to support the country’s future, but it’s critical to keep the national economy moving, particularly in regional areas where it will better link businesses to national and global markets and generate new opportunities.”
▯ For more information and Benalla project visualisations, visit inlandrail.com. au/benalla-map-marker